A Japanese labor office ruled that one of Toyota's top car engineers died from working too many hours.

It was the latest decision against overwork in Japan, where stoic acceptance of extended overtime has long been the norm.

The victim's wife's lawyer says the man, who was 45, had been under severe pressure as the lead engineer in developing a hybrid version of Toyota's Camry line.

According to the lawyer, in the two months up to his death, the engineer averaged more than 80 hours of overtime per month.

The ruling, which will allow his family to collect benefits from his work insurance, is the most recent in a string of decisions against long working hours in Japan. The country has been struggling to cut down on deaths from overworking, known as "karoshi," which have steadily increased since the Health Ministry first recognized the phenomenon in 1987.